Those of you that are Facebook friends with me probably saw that I was in El Salvador last week It’s interesting traveling to another country, especially when you’re not there for a vacation. You get to see the country in a different way, through the eyes of people that live and work there. It’s not the same as I imagined it would be.

Oh sure, I know better than to trust what I hear from the news media in America. If you listen to the news you’d think everyone in El Salvador is being persecuted and dying to sneak into our country to claim asylum. You’d probably imagine gangs running amok in the streets and Salvadorians fearing for their lives. I personally found it to be quite the opposite.

Salvadorians are just normal people who get up in the morning and go to work. They don’t seem to focus so much on trivial items or the material things in life. They smile a lot and they say “Buenos Dias” and “Gracias” to a total stranger. They work hard to provide a better life for their children and they love their beautiful country. 

Yes, they have problems just like we do. They are aware of the gangs in certain areas and they are careful not to go into those areas at night. El Salvador elected a new president earlier this year, Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez, who has recently started using the military to help their police force. It’s a little unnerving to see a military guard in full combat gear and a machine gun standing on the street corner, but the people take time to stop and thank them for being there as their presence has begun to affect a drop in crime. 

I got to meet so many wonderful people. We ate poposas, a Salvadorian specialty made with a thick flatbread and stuffed with cheese and pork. We visited children in schools and students in universities. We met many business owners selling all kinds of interesting things. I spoke in a Church on Sunday and met several Pastors. I even had a university English teacher beg me to come to speak to her English class. I couldn’t do that because time would not allow it, but I’ve agreed to let two of her students interview me live through Skype in a couple of weeks. They have some type of class project where they have to interview someone using online technology. One of them has already contacted me and confessed he is so excited about interviewing an American.

Maybe I’ll get the chance to go back there someday and visit again. Next time I’d like to see more of the country and maybe climb a volcano or walk along the beach. Hasta la Próxima, amigos mios.